Arsenal fans have never been this optimistic coming into a game at Old Trafford for a very long time. This not only stems from the fact that we are 8 points above Manchester United, but also the fact that Fergie is finally gone and Wenger has to tactically outsmart Moyes rather than him.
Although I’m more confident than I’ve ever been going into this fixture, I still feel Man Utd are an extremely strong team that could devastate us if we are not careful. They are extremely strong in attacking with Rooney in some good form at the moment. Van Persie will still be a massive threat especially when aiding their midfield and drawing our defenders away causing openings.
We’ll need to take advantage of our strength in midfield and really dictate the game to United. We don’t want them to push us back. We need to play the game our way and with our wealth of technically superior midfielders, we can hopefully do that. This game will be a big test for Arteta who will have to deal with the physicality of Fellaini. Özil will also have a big part to play and needs to make sure he stops Carrick from switching play and passing it to Rooney/Van Persie. He’ll need to put in a strong defensive performance to ensure that we aren’t exploited without the ball.
Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Gibbs
Arteta – Ramsey
Rosicky – Özil – Cazorla
We’ve fortunately got Flamini and Wilshere back from injury and they should both be in the squad. However, with an international break looming, we can afford to start our strongest line up. But it’s good to have the options on the bench and we can certainly look to shore up the midfield if we’re in front by substituting either Cazorla or Rosicky for Flamini.
Wilshere is versatile enough to be either an attacking or defensive substitute. He can take the ball away from danger with his brilliant dribbling and could be crucial on the counter if we’re dealing with too much United pressure.
This is going to be a difficult game for us but I believe we can take away a very positive 1 – 1 draw. That keeps us 8 points in front of Man Utd as well as staying at the top of the league going into the international break. A win would be great but I don’t think we should push for it too much, especially after what happened at the Emirates against Dortmund.